Metal is nerd music, I don’t think I fully trust ‘cool’ Metalheads. That sounds stupid I know because everyone’s description of ‘cool’ differs but what I mean is most people into Metal are into other extracurricular nerd hobbies, whether that be D&D, Star Wars or Horror movies. Truth be told Metal has always been pretty closely linked with outsiders. I guess that’s why I first gravitated towards it, I’ve never been normal. Hence why it becomes increasingly infuriating when trendy types hop upon the band wagon, a theme that fluctuates over the years.

Bringing the nerd slabs of Death Metal today are the mysterious German born band Nightbearer. Their lyrics range from Tolkien to Stephen King and beyond, delving ever deeper into themes of fantasy and horror. In 2018 they gave us their first EP Stories From Beyond, which was met with much acclaim. Now however the band prepare to step up their game with their debut full length Tales Of Sorcery And Death which comes to us through Testimony Records.

Despite the German connection this band instantly races out of the gates of Mordor with Swedish Death Metal force. Chunky riffs and swift melodies rest alongside thundering drums during the catchy Beware The Necromancer, a solid start. These themes don’t stop with Lycanthropic Death Squad becoming yet another memorable Death Metal journey full of old school lyrical themes and further traditional yet guttural vocals. Again the title track is quite an enjoyable Death Metal burst, with dare I sat some Melodic Death influence. Just as things begin to get tiresome however the slower The Gods May Weep jumps into the mix, another strong Death Metal crusher which shows some variation.

All Men Must Die gets the second half of the album off to a good start but I can’t help but feel more could have been done with this track. The only thing that appears lacking is that extra boost, something in the vain of Unleashed’s repetition wouldn’t go amiss for this band. Actually I must confess that the remainder of the second portion of the album ceases to woo as the same ideas are forced out again and again. I can’t say that any of these ideas are bad and in fact each track stands on its own, but all the same the might of this band dwindles towards the albums end. Thankfully the climax of The Dead Won’t Sleep Forever pretty much rounds the album off with crushing blows and leaves the listener at least a little impressed.

This is one of those albums that has had me sliding from emotion to emotion, from enjoyment to disappointment and everything in between. It certainly isn’t the best Death Metal album I’ve ever heard but I do really enjoy the overall sound and production. I just feel as if there are a few finer points that the band could refine, memorability being a huge one. Sure riffs do stick but the lyrics should be far more legible and better utilized. At its core this album has the right idea and as a debut it’s pretty strong, am I eager to hear more yes? Am I desperate for it? No.

(7/10 George Caley)